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Environment - Health - 15.10.2020
Green earplugs
Green earplugs
Cars, trains, planes: For two thirds of the European population, traffic noise is part of everyday life. However, the right environment can have a major impact on this nuisance, as Empa researchers have found out. Green spaces in urban areas help to make road and railroad noise less of a nuisance. Only in the case of aircraft noise does this seem counterproductive: the greener the surroundings, the more disturbing the aircraft noise.

Transport - Materials Science - 15.10.2020
Volatile for heavy trucks
Volatile for heavy trucks
In future, commercial vehicles will not only have to emit less CO2 but also meet stricter exhaust emission limits. Many experts expect that this could herald the end for fossil diesel. One possible alternative is dimethyl ether: The highly volatile substance burns very cleanly and can be produced from renewable energy.

Materials Science - Physics - 15.10.2020
Hanging by a colored thread
Hanging by a colored thread
High-performance fibres that have been exposed to high temperatures usually lose their mechanical properties undetected and, in the worst case, can tear precisely when lives depend on them. For example, safety ropes used by fire brigades or suspension ropes for heavy loads on construction sites. Empa researchers have now developed a coating that changes color when exposed to high temperatures through friction or fire.

Physics - 15.10.2020
Altering the properties of 2D materials at the nanometer scale
Altering the properties of 2D materials at the nanometer scale
Scientists have developed a method for changing the physical properties of 2D materials permanently using a nanometric tip. Their approach, which involves deforming the materials, paves the way to using these materials in electronic and optoelectronic devices. Materials all come with their own set of properties - they can be insulating, semi-conducting, metallic, transparent or flexible, for example.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 15.10.2020
Two planets around a red dwarf
Two planets around a red dwarf
The -SAINT-EX- Observatory, led by scientists from the National Centre of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva, has detected two exoplanets orbiting the star TOI-1266. The Mexico-based telescope thus demonstrates its high precision and takes an important step in the quest of finding potentially habitable worlds.

Social Sciences - Politics - 15.10.2020
Empathy exacerbates discussions about immigration
Empathy exacerbates discussions about immigration
If both camps take a more empathetic approach when there's an argument, it generally makes it easier to listen to what the other side is saying and alleviate tension. This isn't the case, however, when the conflict is about immigration. Discussions about immigration are heated, even antagonistic. But what happens when supporters and opponents undertake to show more empathy and engage in perspective taking, two types of behaviour that can ease tension?

Politics - Environment - 15.10.2020
Unequal distribution of research into marine resources
Unequal distribution of research into marine resources
Exploration and utilisation of resources from the world's oceans is not equally distributed across the globe. Although many of these resources originate in the Global South, they are mostly being researched by just a few countries from the North. Accordingly, this is also where most of the benefits and profits are flowing to, despite the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Life Sciences - Health - 14.10.2020
Scientists home in on how cells are protected from premature aging
Scientists home in on how cells are protected from premature aging
A new study by EPFL researchers shows how RNA species called TERRA muster at the tip of chromosomes, where they help to prevent telomere shortening and premature cell aging. Molecules that accumulate at the tip of chromosomes are known to play a key role in preventing damage to our DNA. Now, researchers at EPFL have unraveled how these molecules home in on specific sections of chromosomes-a finding that could help to better understand the processes that regulate cell survival in aging and cancer.

Environment - 14.10.2020
Winners and losers of energy transition
Winners and losers of energy transition
Accounting for multiple social aims other than costs is critical for transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable electricity. A new study by UNIGE proposes a viable compromise. The European Green Deal aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector, which could have substantial economic and social impacts across Central European regions.

Earth Sciences - 14.10.2020
Scientist gains fresh insight into the origins of earthquakes
The speed and intensity with which seismic waves propagate after an earthquake depend mainly on forces occurring deep inside the rocks along a fault line, according to a study by EPFL scientist François Passelègue. His sophisticated models are giving us fresh insight into the factors that can trigger an earthquake.  Sometimes barely noticeable, and at other times devasting, earthquakes are a major geological phenomenon which provide a stark reminder that our planet is constantly evolving.

Environment - Economics / Business - 13.10.2020
Mental accounting is impacting sustainable behavior
Mental accounting is impacting sustainable behavior
UNIGE psychologists are analysing the way our minds plan the use of resources so that interventions can be developed to reduce excessive energy consumption and carbon emissions. Mental accounting is a concept that describes the mental processes we employ to organise our resource use. Human beings tend to create separate mental budget compartments where specific acts of consumption and payments are linked.

Chemistry - Environment - 13.10.2020
Using electric current to stabilize low-permeability soils
Using electric current to stabilize low-permeability soils
Scientists have developed a new approach to stabilizing clay soils. The method involves using a battery-like system to apply electric current to carbonate and calcium ions in order to promote soil consolidation. Their findings were published yesterday in Scientific Reports. According to figures released by the UN yesterday, natural disasters have killed more than 1.2 million people since 2000 and cost nearly $ 3 trillion.These pressing threats bring into sharp focus the need for new answers to the problem of soil stabilization.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.10.2020
Well-formed disorder for versatile light technologies
Well-formed disorder for versatile light technologies
Researchers at ETH have managed to make an efficient material for broadband frequency doubling of light using microspheres made of disordered nanocrystals. The crucial idea for the method arose during a coffee break. In the future, the new approach could be used in lasers and other light technologies.

Health - Life Sciences - 12.10.2020
Mechanical forces of biofilms could play role in infections
Studying bacterial biofilms, EPFL scientists have discovered that mechanical forces within them are sufficient to deform the soft material they grow on, e.g. biological tissues, suggesting a -mechanical- mode of bacterial infection. The vast majority of bacteria in the world live on surfaces by forming structures called -biofilms-.

Health - Social Sciences - 10.10.2020
HIV epidemic: Successful use of self-tests in rural Africa
HIV epidemic: Successful use of self-tests in rural Africa
Despite significant progress in prevention and therapy, millions of people still get infected with HIV every year. The main burden of HIV/AIDS falls on Africa. To contain the epidemic, innovative methods are needed to enable early diagnosis of all those affected. A Basel research group has now been able to significantly improve the success of "door-to-door" testing campaigns thanks to HIV self-tests.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 09.10.2020
Bacteria in sediment continue to show effects of over-fertilisation
Bacteria in sediment continue to show effects of over-fertilisation
Whether a lake was once polluted with excess nutrients is reflected even decades later in the community of bacteria living on these nutrients in the sediment. However, there is still surprisingly little research into how microbes in the sediment cooperate. From a global perspective, lake sediments are important carbon sinks.

Materials Science - Physics - 09.10.2020
Modeling eternity in the rock laboratory
Modeling eternity in the rock laboratory
Cement is one of the key materials for the safe storage of radioactive waste. What is needed is an almost infinite durability of the containers. Empa researchers are therefore analyzing material systems that can handle this task. Exploratory tunnel in the Mont Terri international rock laboratory. Since 1996, rock formations that could play a role in the storage of radioactive waste have been investigated here.

Life Sciences - 08.10.2020
Miniature organs shed light on intestinal regeneration
Miniature organs shed light on intestinal regeneration
In a study, researchers from Basel unraveled mechanisms orchestrating organoid formation and intestinal regeneration. Using a unique image-based screening approach, the researchers identified a compound that improves intestinal regeneration in mice. The last decade has seen a boom in the field of organoids, miniature organs grown from stem cells in vitro.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 08.10.2020
Vaporised metal in the air of an exoplanet
Vaporised metal in the air of an exoplanet
An international team of researchers led by the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva studied the atmosphere of the ultra-hot exoplanet WASP-121b. In it, they found a number of gaseous metals. The results are a next step in the search for potentially habitable worlds.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 08.10.2020
Intestinal regeneration: lessons from organoid research
Intestinal regeneration: lessons from organoid research
Intestinal organoids recapitulate not only the structure of intestinal epithelium but also its ability to regenerate following damage. Using this research tool, the group of Prisca Liberali unraveled mechanisms orchestrating organoid formation and intestinal regeneration with a unique image-based screening approach.